Saturday, July 26, 2014

Bailey

Sir Benjamin Bailey Anderson (Courtney, Evans, Vickers, Kwok - we all loved him, & he us)
Lover of cheese and warm blankets
April 1998-July 2014


We lost our buddy man two weeks ago to lymphoma and old age. We were in Florida helping dear friends move, and the Trusty Coworker (who was keeping him for me), called to say that between leaving for dinner and getting home, Bailey had taken a turn for the worse. I told him it was time for the Final Vet Visit, and I was (and am) so sorry that he had to be the one to take him. The Research Assistant (and her pharmacist) and The Auburn Fan (and a friend of hers) drove there as well, and they all kissed him goodbye and told him how much we loved him. And that he had pretty eyes. Because he did always have the prettiest eyes. I am so grateful to my village for all they did that night and the love they showered on Bailey over the years. We are heartbroken, and we will miss him forever. 

The smiles and laughs over him are already becoming more frequent, so I know one day they will outweigh all the tears.  Bailey was one of the most persnickety dogs I've ever known, and all his little idiosyncrasies just made him more loveable in my eyes.  He needed his plate rotated, and he barked and barked and barked at half empty water bowls until we got him the refilling cat bowl.  He used to chase Jay down the end of the dock when Jay would run down it to jump off, and once, when he was only a few years old, he tried jumping from the boat to the dock and missed, landing squarely and embarassingly in the lake.  That dog.  He and Jay had a bond unlike any I've seen between a dog and his person, and though it's hard now, it was truly a special relationship that made Jay, and all of us really better people for it.  The first fourteen years of his life, cheese was his favorite food.  Then he started getting arthritis medicine and discovered the Beauty and Wonder of Pill Pockets, and then every evening around medicine time, he'd just stand there and bark and stare at you until he got his pill pocket.  He didn't really like to chase toys, but he loved to chew on them and tear the little bits of fabric off.  He loved the same thing about socks, and if you had a loose sock, watch out, because he'd grab the tip and pull it off your foot.  He'd wake us up in the middle of the night to be put on the bed, or off the bed, or to go outside.  Basically, he taught us unconditional love, and patience, and joy, and the value of hard things.

He will be so, so missed, but never forgotten. Pretty eyes, always.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October Report

Pronounced a la The Colbert Report, the "Oct toe bear re poor".  But anyway.

Very little has been happening around the Courtney household.  I've been working...a lot of hours.  We'll just leave it at that.  Jay and I did reach our 13 year milestone on October 14, and we even managed to take a picture together!  Granted, it's with my phone camera and posted to Instagram, but whatever.  Day and age, all that jazz.























I haven't taken pictures with my DSLR in...a long time.  I want to, but I'm not great with it and honestly haven't had the time to take it out of its case to snap a photo.  I hope to remedy this in the next month or so and maybe get a Christmas card worthy picture or cute dog photo.  You know, the standard fare around here.


































As for fun stuff, I've been watching more Doctor Who and Supernatural.  I love them both and for totally different reasons.  This post accurately describes my feelings about that Doctor Who.  And Supernatural is just a great buddy show, and I'm a huge sucker for buddy shows/movies (see Psych and the original cast Star Trek movies, especially the last few.)  And cute boys.  That part is nice, too.  I've also been re-reading The Princess Diaries series, which is nothing like the movies, really.  They're so much better, and this is coming from a person who's a fan of the movies.  (What's not to like about Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway?  I mean, really.)  They read the way my mind works, and Mia really is my fourteen year old spirit animal.  If I ever have a daughter, I want her name to be Amelia James and to call her Mia.  What?  That's not normal?  Do I need to post a picture of me NOT CARING?

Tonight I am hanging out by myself (Jay and the dogs do not count as they are in the basement and wouldn't hear me scream if I fell) and baking Halloween cookies.  Specifically these and these.  The dough for both is OUT OF THIS WORLD.  I have FEELINGS about the chocolate gingerbread dough.  Jay has these same feelings for the sugar cookie dough.  It's why we work so well.


So that's where we are around here. I'm typing this while batches of these babies bake, and Jayface is playing League of Legends downstairs.  I've been doing an awful lot of complaining lately (Trusty coworker gets the brunt of this, bless his heart), but really, things aren't so bad.  I have cookies and puppies and Jayface.  And those are the BEST.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

An Amy Spot

I've decided to make our dining room a office/study for me. It's coming along nicely and is quickly becoming my favorite room. Between the green walls, random furniture, glass insulators, and Skyrim dragon, it really feels like...me. I still need to do a master post in the house, but work has been kicking my tail and keeping me late. We've been extra busy the past couple of months, and while I'm super excited about how things are going there, I've got to do a better job of taking care of my home and the three critters in it. Balance. I'm working on it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Letter to Sixteen Year Old Me

Hey you.

Yeah, you. With the bushy hair and blue eyes. Things are going to be okay. So a boy broke up with you. Guess what? It turns out to be one of the best things that happens to you. I know you don't know or love The Doctor yet, but I know that even he wouldn't mind these spoilers.

The next year is going to be awesome. You're going to discover so much about yourself - your love for antiques, the way your heart feels when you look out over Lake Martin on a breezy autumn day, the fact that you are incredibly vain about that mess of hair that makes you feel insecure. But you want to know the best part? You are going to fall in love with your friends. The Research Assistant. The Lady Engineer. The HR Consultant. The Gamer. (Look at your notes you write to each other. One day you won't be able to tell your handwriting from his.)  You even get to know The Auburn Fan, but you have to wait for a certain beach trip after graduation to really cement that fall for the her. Spoilers.

Later there will be a quote from Helen Keller, "My friends have made the story of my life," that resonates with you so that your breath catches in your throat. You need this time with them. You need to love with them, cry with them, dream with them, and seal that bond. You need them.  They'll need you, too. Trust me, little dove.

You are smart. Maybe not as smart as you want to be, but smarter than you think. You get awards for it one day, and it literally pays for stuff for you later. Keep working hard. It's worth it.

You and your sister are going to get along better one day. It isn't always easy with her, but that tough shell hides a tender heart. Go easier on her than you want to. Your whole family is kind of awesome. Love on them while you can, you'll lose more of them than you'd like by the time you're twenty six.

You are going to be that crazy dog lady. Embrace it. It brings you so much happiness.

And the boy? That love story? Well, it has a happy ending, too. But no more on that, not now. Spoilers. :)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Crazy: Office Supply Edition

IMG_20120501_114006.jpg

See these?  I can't work or function properly without these.  I've had the purple staple puller since I started my very first job in 2005, and it is a Thing.  I have to have it.  It's my staple puller, and if I need to pry a staple loose from a stack of paper, it's required.  No, I don't want your staple puller.  Where is my purple one?!

And that pen?  It's the precious.  It's my pen.  I keep one like it at all times, and then I always know it's my pen.  It's not some double that's open to be community property.  I feel awkward and clumsy signing checks without it.  I NEED that pen.

The calculator is something I've always known I used, but I didn't realize the full extent of my needing it until this morning when I couldn't find it.   I needed to add and subtract things, and when I couldn't find my calculator, what did I do?  Use the one on the computer?  My phone?  Scrounge around the office for another calculator?  No.  I frantically searched for mine until I gave up and called Trusty Coworker, who had it with him at the courthouse.  (That's what I get for strolling in around 8:30 while he's been here since seven, but I digress.)

If any of my other normal stuff goes missing, I can make do with whatever I have nearby.  Not these three things.  They're the three that make me stop what I'm doing so I can track them down and have them close again.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Tornado Awareness

Part of me wants to start a tornado awareness campaign of sorts for my fellow Alabamians.  It begins with "Any time it's warmer than 65 degrees on an overcast day in  January, you should check the weather" and ends with a link to the weather blog.  Also, information about polygons and the 'tornado alley' we have running from west central Alabama up through northeast Alabama.  And I'm not victim blaming here; these storms are strong and will do what they will.  That's not where I'm going with this at all.  But saying there is no warning is generally just saying you didn't receive the vast amounts of information that was floating around.  It's unfounded.  If someone wasn't warned, it's from a lack of education about weather and warning systems.  So many people don't even realize that those warnings aren't county wide; they're for a relatively specific polygon.  Our siren system just hasn't caught up to that yet, and people place far too much reliance on it.  My friend Elizabeth over at Adventures in Life, Love & Librarianship speaks her bit about preparedness in much more eloquent, informational fashion than I could muster today.  Go check it out!



*I will add that many, MANY people in our area do take these storms seriously.  We've been through enough as it is.  And I will give a shout out to every person who closed on a loan or house at our office today...they've all mentioned the storms and told each other (and their trusty closing attorneys) to be careful.  When the going gets rough in the South, we generally just get better.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Slick

Just a quick post to mention my continuing amazement with our little Acer tablet (Tabby the tablet, we call her) and the new Android tablet mint.com app.  This may be one of my nerdier moments what with combining electronic toys and personal finance. The app is just so slick and lovely, and I love the way it responds to my touch. I feel like I'm on the Enterprise or something with the graphs and screen swiping. So awesome. Go check it out!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pink Hearts Day

Valentine's Day has never really been my favorite for various reasons.  I think it is contrived, and I don't know why we have a special day to celebrate love, which should happen every day.  And the focus on romantic love bothers me.  I'm a curmudgeon that way and have been for quite some time.

However, I do have a special Valentine's Day story I like to share.  It's the only memorable Valentine's Day gift or anything I've ever had, and it was Jay's and my first together.  We were both a whopping fourteen years old, and I think I got him a copy of The Matrix that had Spanish subtitles.  (No, I did not realize it had Spanish subtitles when I bought it, but it made for funny stories and viewings later.)  He gave me my gift, which looked quite promising.  It was a clear Rubbermaid plastic box about a foot across with various objects wrapped in red tissue paper inside.  I was excited enough about the storage box but definitely intrigued by the surprises inside.  I opened the box and carefully unwrapped one of the tissue paper packages, only to find a can of vienna sausages.  Okay.  Next package...more canned meat product.  Turns out there were five of them in there, all wrapped up nicely.  Keep in mind, I'm fourteen and have been dating this boy for about four months.  I don't know what my reaction is supposed to be.  I mean, I am excited about the Rubbermaid box (don't judge a girl), but I don't get the canned meat.  I just look at him and say thank you...and he bursts out laughing.  He then proceeds to pull another, smaller package out of his coat pocket, and it is The Beatles' White Album on CD.  If I didn't know before, I knew then that this was Real Love.  I'm not good at sappy or sentimental; I'm too likely to crack up during all that.  (The story of how it was all I could do not to burst out laughing during our wedding is for another day.)  But I did love the boy, and I still do love the man.  I am quite lucky.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dang, girl

I was never a huge Sex and the City fan or detractor.  I've seen some episodes, kind of know the storyline, and enjoy the occasion when I watch it.  But this New York Times profile on Cynthia Nixon, who played Miranda on the show, was kind of awesome.  She's been in acting since she was a child and has had quite the career and education.  She had this to say about detractors who feel that her change in sexuality was somehow disingenuous:

"“I totally reject that,” she said heatedly. “I gave a speech recently, an empowerment speech to a gay audience, and it included the line ‘I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay, and gay is better.’ And they tried to get me to change it, because they said it implies that homosexuality can be a choice. And for me, it is a choice. I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me. A certain section of our community is very concerned that it not be seen as a choice, because if it’s a choice, then we could opt out. I say it doesn’t matter if we flew here or we swam here, it matters that we are here and we are one group and let us stop trying to make a litmus test for who is considered gay and who is not.” Her face was red and her arms were waving. “As you can tell,” she said, “I am very annoyed about this issue. Why can’t it be a choice? Why is that any less legitimate? It seems we’re just ceding this point to bigots who are demanding it, and I don’t think that they should define the terms of the debate. I also feel like people think I was walking around in a cloud and didn’t realize I was gay, which I find really offensive. I find it offensive to me, but I also find it offensive to all the men I’ve been out with.”"

And then she had this to say about her kids: "“I know everybody says their kids are their greatest achievement,” she said, “and I think my kids are wildly impressive and great, but I don’t feel like they’re my achievement, really. They’re their own people.""  I love this.  I don't have kids, but this is the kind of mindset I want to have going into it one day.


Saturday, December 31, 2011

So Close - 2011 in Review

I came so close to posting at least once at month on the blog this year.  I skipped November, and I don't feel like I've really been that busy.  But looking back on it, we got one friend moved into a new apartment, had a seventy-fifth birthday bash/family reunion for my grandmother, and did the whole Thanksgiving thing.  In hindsight, it was a pretty full month, but I do wish I'd done *something* on the blog that month.  It mars an otherwise good year.

We planted a garden and had some measure of success.  I'll definitely be doing it again next year, whether it's at The Research Assistant's home or mine.



The Research Assistant got married to a wonderful fella we all love.  We spent a good chunk of the year working on that one day, and I think we did almost a good a job with it as she did when she chose the Pharmacist.
(Photo credit to Arden Ward.)


The Quad went on the annual beach trip again this year, but we had this little addition to accompany us this time.  Spock went everywhere with us, even to the movies, and it was fun taking pictures of him along the way.  Definitely one of my favorite memories of the year.


This little guy had yet another eye surgery.  I was devastated that the trauma had happened again, but Dr. Korsch saved his eye again.  The whole team there, along with the folks at Dr. Anne England's office in Vestavia, have our unending thanks.  Other than that and the embarrassing bow he had to endure for the above picture, he had an okay year.


This thing continues to have a life kind of like Mary Poppins: practically perfect in every way.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.  She is one of the few bright spots in my life that never dims, even when I'm in the blackest of moods.


There was a lot of love from family.  
(Bottom photo credit to Douglas Photography.)


Jay and I are grateful for all of our many blessings, and we wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season and happy new year!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Baked Oatmeal

The Research Assistant found this recipe in The Fresh Market's monthly booklet...thing.  We baked it for the first time when we went camping, and I've been hooked ever since.  We were pretty faithful to the original recipe the first go round, substituting an extra quarter cup of brown sugar for the honey because the Research Assistant hates honey.

I decided I wanted to make it again, this time with a little more fall inspired flavor.  And thus one of my favorite new eats was born.

There are no pictures to accompany this post.  Let's face it, my kitchen is a mess, and oatmeal isn't exactly photogenic in a dim kitchen at midnight.  But trust me, it's tasty!

Baked Oatmeal - inspired by The Fresh Market and reinvented by FloCo.

3 cups old fashioned oats
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar (I used a 1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend to cut down on the Engineer's and my sugar intake)
2 cups almond milk
1/4 cup coconut oil (or any other cooking oil/melted butter)
1/3 cup applesauce
1 egg, beaten
4 small to medium McIntosh or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into bite size pieces

Break egg into medium bowl and beat until a gorgeous yellow color.  Add coconut oil and mix well.  Then add almond milk, applesauce, and brown sugar.  Mix.

Combine the oats, spices, and baking powder in a large bowl.  Add the wet mixture to this, and pour into a greased two quart casserole dish.  Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for twenty minutes.  Remove, add apples, mix, and return to oven for another twenty minutes.  Nom.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Uh-what?

I bothered tidying up our room today, even going so far as to make up the bed.  Naturally, this means Edie and Bailey decide to jump on the bed to root around for a bit.  I grabbed my camera and made them sit there for a few minutes so I could snap some new photos of them.  They were....slightly more cooperative than usual.  Which isn't saying much.  (Also, sorry the color is so warm in them.  That's actually what it looks like with the terrible lighting in our bedroom at night.)


"Um, uh-what are you doing?  No."


"I'm still not looking at you."


"Wait, what? Pictures?"


"I will look you.  I am sweet and lovely.  Even if my hair is jacked."


"Fine.  Is this what you want?  Here."


"I'm starting to get crazy.  Let's do this."
"I really don't want to do this anymore"


"Look how far I can tilt my head?"
"Help me, man."


"HI THERE, WHAT?!"
"This is insufferable."

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mornings

The following is a true account of how my morning went.

Jay wakes me up screaming; he's having a nightmare that a snake is crawling up his leg.  I reach over to grab his hand to give him comfort and plan to go back to sleep.

This is a mistake.

More screaming.  I probably should have told him I was reaching for his hand before doing so; he just assumed it was the snake from the dream.

By this point, getting back to sleep is out of the question, so I decide I'm going to do ten or fifteen minutes of yoga.  Get good and stretched out and all that jazz.

Edie likes this plan.  A little too much, in fact.  Any time my hands got within a foot of the ground, there was an assumption that, yes, I reallreallyreally wanted to pick her up rightthatverysecond.  So fling herself into my hands she does.  I put her back on the bed.  She leaps back to me, unstoppable.  At this point I decide to just let her help out and entertain me.  Until we get to upward facing dog, that is it.  I'm all the way in the floor, and she realizes she can put her paws on my chest and stick her face right up next to mine.  Like, thisclose, y'all.  Then the running in circles happy dance commences, and I know there's no way any kind of exercise is happening this morning.  She's just too dang crazy.

Meanwhile, on the bed, Bailey continues to sleep.  Peacefully.  While Edie is running in circles on the floor, I walk calmly over to my sleepy boy.  I have great plans to gently lift him from the bed and wake him from his slumber.  And then crazy dog jumps into my hands as I'm lifting Bailey, which scares the beejeezus out of him.  So now he's wide awake, too.

I know!  We'll go for an extra long walk all the way down to the mailboxes at our apartment complex.  That'll be fun and Jay can sleep for an extra few minutes.  Awesome.  Except for the part where our housemate's dog is utterly dejected to be left inside and starts mournfully howling when we step outside.  And the part where they stop every few seconds to sniff or urinate on something.  And the part where Bailey poops not once, not twice, but three times, and I do not have enough baggies to pick it all up at this point.  Sorry, neighbors.  I end dragging them back to apartment because the fifteen minute walk has just been TOO MUCH for either of them.

As we approach our sidewalk to get back to our building, a very nice young woman is walking her eighty pound dog.  Who sees my eight pound dog, tucks his tail, and then back away.  Edie low growls at him.  Neighbor dog backs away even further, obviously frightened.  His owner tries to tell him it's okay, and I have Edie a safe distance from him.  But he's immovable.  And scared.  Since he's paralyzed by fear, we have to carefully walk around Neighbor and Neighbor Dog.  Thankfully, neither Edie or Bailey took to their usual barkfests, but Edie just kept with the low growling.  She had that big dog right where she wanted him, and he knew who was boss.  Poor thing.

We go inside, and both dogs proceed to get as close to the housemate's bed as they can.  It's naptime again. I go back in the bedroom, wake Jay up, and we get ready for work.  Two pairs of big, sad eyes watch us leave (housemate's dog and Bailey; Edie is too busy refusing to look at us).

And that's pretty much how it goes.  Not exactly a typical morning, but it definitely wasn't too out of the ordinary.  Wake up in a weird manner?  Check.  Canine insanity?  Check.  This is my normal.

Crap phone pictures ahead...

Crazy.

Sleepy.